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The Belgrade News

Schools retool sports park plan

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Posted: Friday, September 16, 2011 9:30 am

Neighbors of a proposed sports park in Belgrade walked away happy Thursday night after viewing a revised plan put forth by the Belgrade School District.

School officials and engineers from Morrison-Maierle Engineering unveiled a revised plan for the proposed Belgrade Youth Sports Park to about 30 residents, most of whom live adjacent to the project on Al Drive or Spooner Road. Engineers revised the plan after a meeting earlier this month, incorporating changes suggested by neighbors.

But after hearing residents a second time Thursday, the plan will be even further revised, said Rick Phillips, Belgrade High School activities director.

The new drawing includes a hedge to provide privacy for Al Drive residents. But residents didn’t like the idea because the hedge could block their views.

“I like the view we have now,” resident Jonah Decker said. “The hedge does nothing for me.”

Other residents agreed and said the park would be more accessible if the hedge was removed.

The request was welcome news to the school district.

“You may have saved us $10,000 right there,” Phillips said of clipping the hedge and its accompanying drip-irrigation line.

To combat parking concerns along the streets near the park, the school district proposed installing a six-foot chain-link fence to separate the park from Spooner Road. Parking lots will be installed in the park itself.

“The fence eliminates people from parking and skating into the park along Spooner,” Phillips said. “It will force people to go the lot.”

The remaining large concern was barring ball-field lighting in the park. Engineer Scott Bell said the original easement with Gallatin Field airport prohibits such lighting, but residents said they want that in writing.

Phillips agreed, saying said the district will provide a letter to residents stating that lighting will not be installed on the sports fields.

Both Phillips and area residents said the meeting was a success. Residents applauded after the presentation and thanked school officials for listening to their concerns.

The next step is to bring the new proposal to the Belgrade School Board and the Belgrade City Council for approval. The project has a tight timeline because new fields need to be in place by next fall, school officials have said.

Construction will begin next year on a new elementary school that will displace two of the school district’s existing soccer fields and one softball field near Belgrade Middle School.

© 2016 The Belgrade News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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